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September 21, 2007

Rampage 30 Open

This new boat may just be the answer for those of us who dream of owning a 60-footer, but whose accountants constantly remind us to get real. The Rampage 30 Open may not be able to run with the truly big dogs in all conditions, but it has most everything they have, albeit in a downsized version. And in the handling department, it may just teach a few of them some new tricks.

The new 30 is built on the same hull as the 30 Express, introduced a couple of years ago. However, this new version clearly targets the serious fishing types, which most of us happily admit to being. With a large, uncluttered cockpit and a roomy bridgedeck that's just a step above the action, the 30 will serve the weekend warrior or a tournament professional equally well.


Ergonomic Cockpit

In the cockpit, a 32-gallon live well sits on the centerline in the transom, just about optimal placement for those times when you need another live bait - quick. A transom door to starboard opens under a hinged section of the covering board, and the cockpit side coamings have thick padding. Future models will come with pads that cross the transom, as well.

Those of you who occasionally take a big fish home for supper will appreciate the large, transverse fishbox in the deck just forward of the transom. The insulated box is drained by a macerator pump and lifts out for inner-hull access, so the space actually does double duty as a lazarette. Rampage has added another innovative touch by including a 30-amp power inlet under each gunwale, as well as two 12-volt outlets for electric reels or downriggers. This boat comes ready to fish.

A centerline tackle station at the forward end of the cockpit contains two large drawers and two smaller ones for holding a plentiful supply of tackle, and trays above the drawers will hold all of the odds and ends that invariably accumulate in a fishing cockpit. A fresh water sink with a cutting board makes rigging easy, and there's more storage available in two bins located under the cockpit steps and two behind the bridge seats.

The bridgedeck raises on an electric ram to provide access to the twin 300-hp Yanmar diesels (there are gas options, too), although it was a tight fit. Engine rooms on 30-footers are always problematic, and this one is no exception. You can get to everything, but you have to lean across the engines to do it, definitely not something you want to try when the engines are hot. A 5.5 kW Kohler generator is easily reached to starboard, as are the battery charger and water heater to port.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 31'
Beam: 11' 3"
Water: 31 gals.
Fuel: 250 gals.
Draft: 33 1/2"
App. weight w/diesels: 11,000 lbs.
Transom deadrise: 19 ¿
Base price: $149,280

A centerline helm station provides excellent visibility and has its own chair, while passengers sit on seats atop molded-fiberglass boxes. The port passenger box can be optionally outfitted with an icemaker. The helm tilts aft for access to wiring, and features a couple of good-sized flat surfaces above the wheel for electronics. Charts stay dry and readable on the covered flat to port.

Accommodations down below are basic, but certainly not Spartan. A double berth in the forepeak will sleep two, if one person is tall and the other short. A couch to starboard converts to form double Pullman-style berths by flipping the backrest into the horizontal position. To port, there's a small galley with a single-burner stove, a sink, microwave oven and a small refrigerator. The head, also to port, lacks a shower stall, but has a pull-out shower head. Finally, there's a cedar-lined hanging locker to keep your clothes fresh.

The 30 Open offers performance to match its good looks. We took the boat offshore on a windy morning off the Florida Keys, and were very impressed with the way it ran in the considerable chop. We encountered three- to five-footers inside the reef, and the Rampage rode soft and dry at all angles to the waves. Even when running into a headsea we had to push the boat hard to make it pound. It has a very solid feel.

The 30 spins on the proverbial dime and will stay on a fish as well as anything that floats. It's also quick with the 300 Yanmars, cruising at around 33 mph at 3400 rpm, and topping out at 38 mph at 3725 rpm. Furthermore, at cruise the boat only burns about 25 gph, so fuel costs will be reasonable.

It just proves once again that you don't need a 60-footer to fish where the big ones live, especially if you've got a boat like the Rampage 30 Open.

Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts, Navassa, NC; (910) 371-3828; www.rampageyachts.com.